That modification was requested at the start of last calendar year during the University Council meeting, chair of Groep-Eén Ralph van Ierland says. “Because at that moment the decision was made to increase financial support for non-EEA students in case of study delay caused by illness or personal circumstances.” These students incur significantly higher costs because they don’t pay the statutory tuition fee (2168 euros coming academic year), but the much higher institutional fee (11,400 euros annually for bachelor’s program and no less than 16,400 euros for a master’s program). As a result, non-EEA students need to pay considerably higher sums for each month of delay than their Dutch and European peers
Van Ierland: “At the time, the University Council asked whether a similar arrangement could be made for students who suffer delay due to a board membership. The university aims for an international student population, but serving on a board was rather expensive for non-EEA students. The monthly compensation for study delay in the form of a board grant was much lower than their tuition fee. In the end, these students still had to pay thousands of euros.”
At the time, the Executive Board showed understanding, Van Ierland says, but it also indicated that it needed some time to find out whether extra compensation was financially feasible. “That’s understandable, because there’s obviously a good chance that this regulation will lead to an increased number of non-EEA students who will want to apply for a board grant. The Executive Board had already agreed to that extra compensation for the current academic year, but it has now been definitively included in theStudent Financial Support Regulations. We are very pleased with that, because international students now know where they stand.”
The modification will have less impact on international students who serve on program committees, departmental boards and the University Council, Van Ierland stresses. “Students who serve on participatory bodies are reimbursed and receive only one month compensation from the Student Financial Support Regulations on top of that.”
Aniruddh Ingle from India is a third-year student of Computer Science. He joined the board of COSMOS, TU/e’s international student association, last summer. At that time, he did not know that he would get extra compensation, he says. “I was not even sure if I would get any compensation at all; some COSMOS board members of the previous year didn’t, since they did not meet the criteria. But I was determined to do a board year anyway, because I knew it would be a great learning experience.”
Nevertheless, he is very happy that the university board decided to both relax the criteria due to COVID-19 and to give extra compensation for the high institutional fee that non-EEA students have to pay. “We at COSMOS always have a hard time finding new board members, and I had already expressed, also in conversations with Groep-Eén, that a board grant proportional to the tuition fee would be fairer than a fixed amount. That would take away one of the main hurdles for non-EEA students to join a board. So, I am very happy that the university board decided to change the regulations. I think it is a good step forward for the integration of internationals into the university.”
However, it remains harder for non-EEA students to combine a board year with their studies, says Ingle. “European students have to obtain 15 credits during their board year to get any compensation, but if you are from outside the EEA, you need to obtain 30 credits in order to be allowed even to stay in the Netherlands.” So, it has been a rather busy year for the Indian. “Indeed, and I also joined a startup, so I learned a lot about time management. I look back on a year of tremendous personal and professional growth.”
There was more good news for non-EEA students this week: because of the restrictions caused by the corona pandemic, they will be allowed to pay the statutory tuition fee for a maximum of three months instead of the institutional fee. This was made public in the corona update that was sent out on Wednesday afternoon. Students do however need to be able to demonstrate that the delay was caused by the corona measures, for example because they failed to find an alternative final project. Applications can be submitted until 25 July at the latest; additional information will be provided at the end of this months by the secretary’s office of the program’s exam committee.